Just when you think Manchester United are playing some good football, they go and put in another pathetic performance. Awful set piece defending and a lack of any desire to win saw them fall 2-1 to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Going behind early, they responded well and it was Anthony Martial again who beautifully levelled things up for the Red Devils. However, they were just shocking in the second half. Sunderland seemed like a team determined to win and they punished United. The only player who did anything was Anthony Martial and he was moved on to the right when Memphis was brought on. Another move which made little sense because it left Martial out of most of the attacks. You need your most dangerous player to be on the ball.
The top four is going to be very tough to get now with City 6 points and having yet to play this season. These are three things we learned from the match:
- Set-piece defending was awful
United struggled to defend set-pieces throughout the game. It started in the first 5 minutes when they failed to defend a free-kick leading Sunderland to take the lead. Throughout the game, they found it hard and it was Sunderland who was regularly winning the first ball from corners. Even when United players got their head to the ball, they couldn’t clear it far enough. Sunderland’s winner was also more abysmal defending from a corner. Smalling lost his man and the header somehow found his way past De Gea. Martial on the line could only kick it into the back of De Gea making it an own goal by the Spaniard.
2. Juan Mata is best as number 10
This is something we not just learnt from this game but from the last two games. Ever since he’s moved from the right, he’s done a much better job. He’s a much more threatening player as well when playing behind the striker. He gets a lot more freedom and space to create things and his vision his terrific. It wasn’t very hard to come to this solution as this is his favoured position. Against Chelsea, his fine performance saw him get the man of the match award. United look a much more dangerous team when Mata is in full flow. \
3. United don’t deserve to be in the top 4.
Playing how they are, there is now way Manchester United deserve to be in the top 4. It’s just shocking. The players once again showed a complete lack of desire and passion. It’s evident the manager is not taking United in the right direction, yet the board are doing nothing about it. They seemed more concerned about commercial deals. The players are lacking some serious quality. They’re so lacklustre on the attack and it shows when you can’t break down a team 19th in the league. Teams used to fear playing United and now they probably relish it thinking it’s an opportunity to win points.